WASHINGTON (OSV News) – Democratic President Joe Biden unveiled the third budget proposal of his presidency March 9, and his first to a divided Congress. The 2024 fiscal year budget proposal stands little chance of being enacted as written since Republicans control the House, but the details of the budget foreshadow what Biden's policy areas of focus for the rest of his term.
In remarks at the Finishing Trades Institute in Philadelphia, Biden said his father used to say "show me your budget, I will tell you what you value."
"Well folks, let me tell you what I value," Biden, a Catholic, said.
The White House estimated that Biden's budget would cut the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by "making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share and cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil and other special interests," the press office said in a release. The White House also said no one earning less than $400,000 per year "will pay a penny in new taxes."
The proposal would raise Medicare taxes on households earning more than $400,000 a year, raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, and establish a minimum tax on billionaires, which the White House said would amount to "a 25 percent minimum tax on the wealthiest 0.01 percent."
The budget also calls for the restoration of the full Child Tax Credit enacted in the American Rescue Plan, which Congress allowed to expire in 2022. Some Catholic and pro-life leaders have called for the implementation of that policy.
The expanded Child Tax Credit aimed to alleviate rising consumer costs during the COVID-19 pandemic for parents, granting eligible recipients $3,000 per child between 6 and 17 years old, and $3,600 per child under age 6. Census Bureau data and analysis by academic institutions found a significant decrease in child poverty as a result of the policy.
"My budget reflects what we can do to lift the burden on hard-working Americans," Biden said.
In a March 9 press call, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the president's budget "comes at a critical moment for our country and a time when the president's economic strategy is working."
"The economy has added 12 million jobs," Young said. "The unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in more than 50 years. And we just had the two strongest years for new small business applications on record."
The budget, Young said, "details a roadmap to build on that progress and finish the job."
"It's built on four key values: lowering costs for families, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare, investing in America, and reducing the deficit by ensuring that the wealthiest in this country and big corporations begin to pay their fair share, and cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests," she said.
A Republican House is unlikely to pass a budget like the one proposed by Biden, setting the stage for budget battles in the weeks to come.
In a joint statement on March 9, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., called the president's budget "a reckless proposal doubling down on the same Far Left spending policies that have led to record inflation and our current debt crisis."
"We must cut wasteful government spending. Our debt is one of the greatest threats to America, and the time to address this crisis is now," the House Republican leaders said. "Yet, President Biden is proposing out-of-control spending and delaying debt negotiations, following his pattern of shrugging and ignoring when faced with a crisis."
In his remarks, Biden said he is "ready to meet with the speaker anytime," and said he would meet with McCarthy to compare their budgets "line by line."
The Washington Post editorial board wrote in a March 9 editorial that Biden's proposed budget wouldn't solve the U.S. debt problem.
"Stabilizing the debt should be a top priority for Mr. Biden and Congress," the editorial board wrote, adding, "It doesn't take a PhD in accounting to see the warning sign here: As debt gets bigger than the economy, the interest costs become so onerous that there is little money left for anything else."